I'll admit to obsessing about why we sail. What drives us to be cold, wet and often bored, and yet still go sailing? Is it the camaraderie? The challenge? The adventure? The competition? Promoters and advocates will often boil it down to the premise that sailors sail because it is fun, and, by inference, don’t sail when it’s not.
Guys tell me they wish they had never sold their most-loved automobile, maybe a first-generation Pontiac GTO or a Mustang like Steve McQueen drove in the movie “Bullitt,” but instead stored it and pampered it so that today they would be able to show off a valuable classic.
Twenty years ago, I was working at the office of Classic Boat magazine when I got a call to review a boat on the River Dart. It was the latest design by that doyen of modern multihull design Nigel Irens, best known as the designer of ENZA, Ellen MacArthur’s record-breaking B&Qand several Gunboat multihulls.
Sailors who admire the Baba 35 are quick to point out that the bluewater cruiser possesses both beauty and brawn. The full-keel, double-ended cutter was designed by naval architect Robert H. Perry. When it first splashed in 1979, the boat was dubbed the Flying Dutchman.
When a cruising tale starts with the words, “We had no engine and ... ,” it usually means a disaster story is about to follow. Most sailors get a knot in their stomach at the thought of losing an engine while trying to anchor somewhere new, entering a busy harbor at night or attempting to dock their boat. Those are the panic-inducing moments that we prepare for but secretly hope never happen. There are some sailors though who go through these scenarios on purpose. Sailing without an engine is not a new idea, but it’s one that is catching on slowly but surely with long-term cruisers all around the world.
Finding an opportunity to go racing, whether it be on a Hunter 336 for a weekly beer can series or a professionally crewed TP52, can be daunting. All the way through the ranks, most sailboat teams are tight little units with core groups of regulars. Standing on the dock with a sign, or registering with an online crewfinder are ways to get a spot on a boat. Word-of-mouth helps too. But it’s what you make of those opportunities that will determine your racing career trajectory, no matter how small your aspirations.
Here is something new and a bit different from Gerry Douglas and his design crew at Catalina. In the past Catalina has stuck to a very conservative look that in time has distinguished it from the more contemporary or Euro-influenced designs. But with its new 425, Catalina has moved in the Euro direction a bit and is producing a boat that is aesthetically on a new tack.
The warp factor speeds that the latest generation maxi multihulls can reach is hard to conceive of even for experienced performance sailors. For example the fastest offshore sailboat in the world, the French 130-foot trimaran Spindrift2, covered 908.2 nautical miles in one day in its previous incarnation as Banque Populaire V.
I am adding an AIS transceiver to my boat. After a few close calls, I decided that not only do I want to know where other boats are, I’d like them to be able to see me as well. It looks like the AIS will work well with my chartplotter but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with the antenna. I’d appreciate your guidance.